New algorithm shift could penalize for excessive ads ‘above the fold’

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by Brafton Editorial
A new algorithm update will negatively impact website that feature excessive ads (instead of informative content) on the top of a page, forcing users to scroll down.

On its Inside Search blog, Google announced a new algorithm that will target websites featuring excessive ads above the fold. Essentially, when a website visitor lands on a page, they want to see the content they were looking for without scrolling down.

The move is part of the company’s goal to make user experience a key signal for search rankings, and is said to affect about 1 percent of searches, according to Google. Forcing users to scroll down a page to find the article, image or other content they clicked to the page to see will impact a website’s ranking negatively.

As search engines continue to evolve, SEO campaigns must do the same. More than anything, businesses relying on content marketing campaigns should consider their page layout as carefully as they do any element of their articles or blogs. Any part of a website that could result in a negative user experience will be targeted by Google.

According to Google, the page layout signal is just one of more than 500 minor, yet potentially important, changes it plans to make to its algorithm in 2012.

Brafton recently reported that Google currently fields an industry-leading 65.4 percent of search queries. The figure has fluctuated steadily between 65 and 66 percent for most of the last year, with Bing and Yahoo (combined) accounting for a majority of the remaining 34 to 35 percent. Adjusting SEO campaigns in line with Google’s user focus will help businesses maximize the benefits of their campaigns.

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